It was stormy most of the afternoon, but at 7 pm all the clouds had disappeared and it was a perfect night for riding. A surprising thirteen riders turned up for the ride, but only six finished it. Here is the sad story:
We headed out towards Xtacy Park, turning right going around the fence and turning left a few hundred metres on, but I made the mistake of only stopping to check for everyone at the second turn only to discover that the sweeper and another rider were not with us. Looking back, we could see two stationary lights so we waited. After a few minutes with the lights not moving, we decided to go back and help, but the lights turned out to be very stationary; in fact not fixed to MTBs, but to the fence!
On the presumption that there was a bad mechanical problem and that the two were walking back to the mall, we all went back to the mall, looked for the riders in the parking lot and the Spur, but only found the car of one with no bicycle on the carrier. Michelle phoned one of them and he finally answered. They had stopped briefly to adjust a light without stopping the group and after that the group had vanished. So they went straight on instead of turning and were already at the bridge at the bottom of Nellmapius!
We left the mall a second time to meet them and waited at the turn where we lost them. After waiting a few minutes, two of the riders decided that waiting was no fun and they turned back to go home. After some ten minutes of waiting we saw the lights approaching on Nellmapius, but when they got back to us, we were once more two short. It turned out that two other riders had gone back to the mall to see if we did not miss the other two coming back.
At this stage I was really beginning to feel a dismal failure as a trailmeister. Since the two were part of a group of four that came together, we had no option but to turn back to the mall to collect the other two. We found them at the Spur getting into their beers and very unwilling to continue the ride. Their friends decided to join them at the Spur and another rider decided, seeing the ride was already on for an hour and we were still at the start, to rather go to the gym.
13 riders went out for a ride.
2 went the wrong way and then there were 11
2 decided to go home and then then there were 9
2 went to the mall to look for their mates and then we were 7
2 came back from the wrong way and then there were 9
2 decided to join the beer party at Spur and then there were 7
1 decided to rather go gym and then there were 6
So the six set off straight to the Mieliemuur and down to the river, up to St Georges, down Leon’s Landing, up Heartbreak Hill, down Smuts House Road, up Quad Buster, down to Look-Ma-No-Breaks, but straight up the other side, down to Holy Trail, on to Python, Wash-‘n-Go, along the railway line, up Supertube, around Ezekiel’s dropoff and via some turns and twists back to the Moo mall where we arrived at 21h45, agreeing that the ride was worth more than having a Spur burger and beer.
O yes, let me just tell you about the little incident crossing the unused railway track. I pride myself that I am quite an experience rider; after all I have been riding bicycles for close on sixty years. I know that you have to cross a railway track as close as possible at a right angle and that is exactly what I did when I saw that I was going to ride right into a muddy puddle. So I turned quickly to avoid that and instead of riding into the puddle, I fell right into it – dark and very dirty for sure…